Thinking outside the box

CHINA’S ban on accepting yang laji (foreign rubbish), sent shockwaves through recycling industries around the world.

The ban will effect 600,000 tonnes of Australian rubbish/recycling, worth an estimated $534 million.

Many punters say it’s a catastrophe, others predict a boon, but they all agree it’s a wake-up call for Australia to deal with its own rubbish.

• Betta Boxes owner Laurie Liddelow. Photos by Jenny D’Anger

New career

In O’Connor, Betta Boxes Recycling owner Laurie Liddelow has been doing his bit for recycling for years, finding new uses for the mountains of boxes that businesses chuck out.

He’s hoping the ban will prompt a re-think.

“You really need to get businesses to think in terms of reusing, instead of recycling,” Liddelow says.

His former life in the corporate world, often working weekends, saw him miss out on family occasions, especially his son playing sport, so he looked around for a new career, and Betta Boxes ticked all the boxes.

“Now I don’t miss a game.”

• Darrell Liddelow turns old boxes into a clean canvas for reuse.

The original owner’s daughter dropped in last week to buy some boxes to move house.

She told Mr Liddelow her dad was just 19, and looking at going to uni, when he started collecting boxes for re-sale.

Since those humble beginnings the company has gone from strength to strength, and its now in its 25th year.

Located at the rear of an industrial block off Carrington Street, Betta’s huge warehouse is packed with rows of flattened, clean boxes, some the size of a pallet.

The business has the ultimate recycling model—with little-to-no processing, boxes are reused, often purchased by people moving, or start-ups that want cost-effective packaging.

The boxes come from a variety of sources, and while companies like the idea of recycling, it also saves them the cost of disposal, Mr Liddelow says.

And boxes with writing on them can be “turned”, to create a blank surface for small businesses to stamp their logo.

The process is simple: a sharp knife slits the old seam and the box is turned inside-out and glued back together with hot glue.

“We turn six to seven hundred a day,” Mr Liddelow’s brother Darrell says, deftly “turning” a box and applying the glue.

The green-certified company buys and sells boxes, new and used,

along with bubble wrap and foam, plastic covers, paper and tissue.


Betta Boxes Recycling
146 Carrington Street, O’Connor

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